Biodiesel Industry Experts Applaud Release of New EPA Rules – Bullish on Biodiesel

The EPA released its Renewable Fuels Standards for ethanol and biodiesel on February 3, 2010. Two industry experts welcome these new standards and are optimistic on the future of alternative fuels in the U.S.
By: Lee Enterprises
Feb. 3, 2010 - PRLog -- In December 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The act expanded the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and provided for a renewable component in U.S. diesel fuel.  The Environmental Protection Agency, which sets the rules to implement this legislation, has now released the new Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS2). According to two industry experts, these newly released rules represent the beginning of an upward trend in the biodiesel industry.  

“I listened to the Feb. 3rd conference call with the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, the EPA Administrator, and the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change just before the EPA released these standards” said Wayne Lee, principal and lead consultant of Lee Enterprises, a nationally recognized biodiesel consulting group.  “It was very clear from that call that the government is trying to send a strong signal that alternative fuels will play a significant role in the energy future of this country” Lee said.  “In fact (EPA Administrator) Lisa Jackson specially said that biodiesel was a ‘good investment’ for the future” said Lee.  “We agree with her, and with the National Biodiesel Board that RFS-2 is the ‘safety net that insures investors of demand’ for American biodiesel”.   Lee said that his group has been telling our clients for the past several months to be ready when the market turns, and that he believes that the release of these standards signals the start of that upward trend.  He noted that these new standards will be especially helpful in providing a level of uniformity in the biodiesel industry.  “These new standards require that biodiesel plants be certified by experienced professional engineers,” Lee said.   “That should eliminate any worries about product consistency and give oil distributors a greater level of comfort with the biodiesel they buy,” Lee said.   He noted, however, that finding professional engineers with biodiesel experience to do the certifications could have been a major problem.  “Not all engineers carry the Professional Engineer designation,” said Lee, “and certainly most that do have little or no experience in biodiesel.”  Lee’s consulting group recognized this potential problem and began working on it well in advance.  “We have been studying the requirements in the EPA drafts and working with the professional engineers at AP Innovations for months” said Lee.  “When the plants call for certifications, we will be ready”.      
“Most of us who follow this industry knew the certification was coming,” said  Mike Shook, a professional engineer and one of the principals at AP Innovations.  “Wayne and I are headed to National Biodiesel Conference in Texas to hear from the EPA officials to make certain we have a clear understanding of exactly what they want and then we are ready to go,” Shook said.   He and his partner, Steve Danforth, both professional engineers, have several years of experience in the alternative fuels industry.  Shook agreed that the limited number of professional engineer with this experience could have resulted in difficulty in getting all the plants certified in a timely manner. “We had clients calling us to schedule times for certifications even before the regulations were released,” Shook said.   He agreed with Lee that advance planning has alleviated much of this potential difficulty.  “The learning curve will certainly still be there” said Shook, “but our advance planning has put us way ahead”.
Both Shook and Lee are very bullish on biodiesel. “The government’s position should be very encouraging to investors, and the EPA has given some ‘real teeth’ to the biodiesel mandates” said Shook. “With the dollar tax credit set to follow soon, I think the industry is ‘off to the races’ again”.    

Both Shook and Lee agree that oil is a limited commodity and its finite nature must not be overlooked.  “When gas is $2/gallon at the pump, the public seems to forget the pain and the issue settles down” said Lee. “But, foreign oil dependency has not gone away”.  Lee predicts a “harshly upward” move in oil prices that will soon “catapult the alternative fuels issues” to the front burner again. “It is a roller coaster and at some point the U.S. has to get off,” said Lee.  “Responsible politicians must think a little further out than the next election, and implement some longer term solutions.  This is a good start”.

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About Lee Enterprises. Lee Enterprises is a biodiesel consulting firm specializing in project management, feasibility studies, business plans, and assistance with planning, market analysis, site evaluation, feedstock selection and procurement, process technology, evaluation, offtake distribution, financing, capital budgeting, personnel, and contract negotiations (for feedstock, off-take, transportation, construction, site purchase/lease, and plant management). They also own National Business Brokerage, Inc., a full service business brokerage firm specializing in the buying and selling of biodiesel plants. Lee Enterprises, 1503 East Kiehl Ave., Sherwood, AR 72120. (501) 833-8511.
Source:Lee Enterprises
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Tags:Rfs2, Renewable Fuel Standard, Biodiesel, Epa, Ethanol, Alternative Energy
Industry:Energy, Biotech, Government
Location:Arkansas - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Feb 03, 2010

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